Blog

Breath is Truth

At ten years old, when an older cousin taught me meditation, I first noticed variations in my breathing. When I felt nervous or frightened I stopped breathing.  Because I rarely admitted to fear or anxiety, the only clue I had about my true emotions was when I became aware of holding my breath or gasping.…

Read More

Is It Okay to Run Out of Some Groceries?

My friend, Susan’s daughter-in-law, Josie, doesn’t keep up with grocery shopping. At mealtimes, she improvises with whatever’s in the cupboards. Her two small children are healthy and happy. They eat a few bites, declare themselves satisfied and are excused from the dinner table. An hour later, they run to the fridge for a few more…

Read More

Terror Evolves

Recently I experienced the old terror I’d felt in childhood when my frequently inebriated parents screamed in fury, sometimes hitting each other. As a kid, I hid behind the living room couch or under the covers of my bed, trembling. A close relative, my beloved cousin Joe, has a partner, Brandon, who is prone to…

Read More

Invisible and Visible Bridges

When I drive, I often don’t know when the straight asphalt surface skims over a waterway beneath me. The road ahead looks normal, but it actually takes me from one edge of a body of water to the other side, while I’m completely unaware of having been on a bridge at all. In Venice, Italy,…

Read More

Keep Dismay Away

My heart aches when I hear or read about current wars. When I see the homeless folks on our streets, I feel sad, almost hopeless. For the people I love and myself, aging is difficult. Some friends and family dwell on both personal and political catastrophes with non-stop complaining and blaming. In spite of their…

Read More

A Dentist’s Kinky Secret

Last Thursday, much to my surprise, I saw one of my body’s nerves. I never dreamed such a thing could happen. I’d studied and taught anatomy and enjoyed viewing exhibitions that showed full-sized cross-sections of human anatomy. Some displays isolated the nervous system, so I’d been aware of nerves’ appearances for many years. However, my…

Read More

Glacial Milk

Rowing across a large freshwater lake at the foot of Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska, strong headwinds blow us backwards. The glacier’s enormity spawns unique weather around it. The frigid expanse meets warmer air above it and creates a whirling tempest over the water. Melting ice mixes with ground-up rock, pulverized by the slow-moving behemoth. Hundreds…

Read More

Not Chosen

I wasn’t chosen.  At the neighborhood shopping center, I saw a scruffy man glance at me. I thought nothing of it. I slowed for a plump middle-aged woman in front of me, who’d stopped to rummage through her grocery cart. Once past her, I resumed my long strides, shoulders back, arms swinging. In the breeze…

Read More

Loving Diversity

I’ve never understood why I’ve always enjoyed living in the midst of diverse cultures. In my youth, bored in my suburban white high school, I transferred into an almost all black and Asian inner city school. I loved dwelling in the midst of the new social richness. As an adult, I’ve lived in Hawaii for…

Read More

Ego

I’ve known a work colleague and his wife, David and Sally, for thirty years. I’d always considered them both to be boring. Recently, I became aware that, for all these years, I’d been silently criticizing David as not doing his job very well.  If only he’d do X or Y, he’d do so much better,…

Read More

Holding My Breath

Driving over the Ko’olau mountains on Oahu with a guest from Europe, we came to the Tetsuo Harano tunnel and I felt the old childhood impulse to hold my breath. All my youthful friends and neighbors adhered to this custom, so I assumed it was a common practice. I asked my friend if she and…

Read More

Spontaneous Acts of Kindness

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu As I stroll on a city sidewalk, I see a young mother gently instruct her two-year-old to move over, to make room for me on the walkway. I say a heartfelt,…

Read More